The former manager of a San Bruno gas station has been charged with cheating people who purchased California lottery scratchers after he figured out a way to secretly check which tickets were winners. He would then sell the losing tickets to gas station patrons. The California Lottery Commission calls the scam "pinning," a way retailers can secretly check whether tickets are winners or losers, and then keep the winners and sell only the losing tickets to customers. The California Lottery Commission sent undercover investigators to the gas station and the manager sold them four more altered tickets. Shoiab Muhammed Mustafa of Pacifica was arrested November 17. He faces five felony counts of computer fraud and a misdemeanor charge. Investigators said he stole at least $300. (Pacifica Tribune, January 21) ***** Alan Wald palindromically posts: "Mustafa stole lots -- a fat sum!"
Scott McKellar's buddy Smitty says he saw an unidentified flying object (UFO) off the coast of Pacifica on January 6, and claims that everyone else driving near him on Highway 1 also witnessed the strange apparition with purple lights flashing and zooming up and down in the western sky for about 20 minutes. If you remember seeing something similar to this, please click Comments below this post and tell us about it. Photos, videos, and drawings are welcome, too. Base, out!
The Drought Monitor has upgraded a large chunk of Northern California from “exceptional” drought (the highest of its five categories) to “extreme” drought. So that’s better, but still not good. Conditions are still so stark because this drought is historic in its proportions. According to a study published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, which looked at the records of drought in California tree growth rings, this is the most severe drought in the Golden State in the past 1,200 years. The depth of the drought is due to a combination of lack of precipitation and exceptionally warm temperatures. 2013 was driest year the state has ever recorded, followed by 2014, the warmest year on record by a wide margin.
Jerry Davis reports: See the beach closure message below from the San Mateo County Health Department. Perhaps we'll hear about this from the city, but I would imagine the Linda Mar (Pacifica State) Beach sewer overflow happened due to leakage into the sanitary sewer system from the storm drain system in the lower Linda Mar neighborhoods.
There apparently was flooding in Linda Mar, but I don't think that it was from the creek. I just checked out the flood control project where the creek rose nearly a meter above "bankfull." Note that when I took the picture above, the flood had already receded 60 or 80 centimeters, but I could see clear evidence of how high the flow had gotten. I put "bankfull" in quotes because the designed channel has a bankfull that is, I believe, significantly lower than what hydrologic inputs would create. This does allow the system to have more flood capacity, so that may have been intended.
But anyway, that amount of flooding is still not high enough to create flooding onto the streets from channel overflow, unless there's a low point I'm not aware of. The neighborhoods to the north of the creek and below Peralta depend more on pump stations at the beach to clear the storm drain system, since they are lower in elevation than the creek, and the pumps may get overloaded during intense rain events.
I do remember hearing from Scott Holmes that the city sanitary sewer system has to deal with a lot more volume during heavy rain, meaning that there's a lot of leakage from storm drains into the sanitary sewer system. Unlike San Francisco, Pacifica does not have a combined sanitary sewer/storm drain system, which is better for maintaining creek flows and habitat, but leakage clearly happens.
BEACH CLOSURES The following beaches are closed due to storm-related sewer overflows resulting in sewage impact to the beach: LINDA MAR STATE BEACH, PACIFICA: The entire length of Linda Mar Beach is closed until further notice. Signs are being posted. Samples will be collected once the storm abates. FRANCIS STATE BEACH, HALF MOON BAY: The beach fronting Francis State Beach Campground and Day Use area at the end of Kelly Avenue continuing south to 100 yards south of the Kelly Avenue drainage is closed until further notice. Signs are being posted. Samples will be collected once the storm abates.
Sewage-impacted beaches will reopen based on samples with acceptable bacteria levels as determined by San Mateo County Environmental Health. We strongly advise against any swimming/surfing anywhere along the San Mateo County coastline during a storm. We also strongly advise against swimming/surfing at any time in ocean waters within 100 yards of a flowing stormwater outfall. Chris Fogel photo, tone-mapped by Bob Pilgrim
Photos top to bottom: 1. Wires down along De Solo Avenue. 2. Arguello Boulevard flooded south of De Solo Avenue. Roadway and sidewalks totally submerged. Debris line up to front doors of residences. 3. Closer look at Arguello Boulevard (see above). 4. Linda Mar Boulevard at Highway 1. 5. Closer look at Highway 1 (see above). 6. San Pedro Creek mouth. 7. Tree down at Peralta and Linda Mar.